by Stephen Downes
Apr 14, 2015
Kirkpatrick Model Good or Bad? The Epic Mega Battle!
Will Thalheimer, Clark Quinn,
Will at Work Learning,
The Kirkpatrick Model is a mechanism for evaluating learning programs; you can read about it here. The idea is to take evaluations of learning events beyond the 'reaction sheet' and to look at the actual results, including "to what degree targeted outcomes occur as a result of the training event and subsequent reinforcement." These targeted outcomes are often, in a corporate setting, the impact of changes in behaviour (lower losses, keeping on schedule, etc). This post debates the merit of the Kirkpatrick Model. In particular, we have to ask whether it's fair to old training designers and instructors to targeted outcomes. "Employees should be held to account within their circles of maximum influence, and NOT so much in their circles of minimum influence." There's only so much a trainer can do to improve performance, just as there's only so much a cleaner can do to ensure clients are impressed, and only such a lawyer can do in a lawsuit.
Corporate Culture in a Venn Diagram
You can read the article for yourself; I want to use this post to flag the misuse of the term "Venn Diagram". In this article, the diagram has four circles, while in a proper Venn diagram there are only three. Why does this matter? Well, the whole purpose of a Venn Diagram is to display all possible overlaps of different categories (specifically: A and not B or C, B and not A or C, C and not A or C, A and B and not C, A and C and not B, B and C and not A, and A and B and C). By this means categorical inferences can be diagrammed and proven. But the four-circle diagram does not display all possible overlaps. Any categorizations produced by means of such a diagram will therefore be miscategorizations. For example, in Pontrefact's diagram, there is no space for "relationship and connected and not committed or open". You may argue that this is an empty category, but this is surely an empirical truth (if it is true) and not a logical truth. Bottom line: don't use four-circle Venn diagrams, or your readers (some of them, at least) will know you don't understand basic categorical reasoning.
Someone Calculated How Many Adjunct Professors Are on Public Assistance, and the Number Is Startling
When people are living on low wages in North America, the government is essentially subsidizing their employers. It's as though we are saying "we (the taxpayers) are willing to contribute directly to their basic needs for food and shelter so you can have low prices at Walmart and McDonalds." All this would be out-of-scope for this newsletter were it not for the fact that so many academic workers fall into the same category (I had an argument with a York university administrator recently while in Armenia; he felt it was perfectly fine for sessionals to live on $10,000 per semester). As this article notes, in the U.S., 25% of adjuncts are on social assistance. This means governments are subsidizing colleges and universities by paying adjuncts things like food stamps directly. It's shameful, and academic employers should be ashamed.
Media, kids and mad parents
I think this article describes a very narrow segment of media-rich kids, but the message and warning are relevant. Dean Groom writes, "Kids live in a world which is presented to them though inescapable media messages where persistent ‘calls to action’.... I’m describing this culture as neo-evolutionary where the media created for them is more powerful than any media created by them." This culture removes from kids the need to have money or credit cards - everything they need is delivered to them right through the media they consume. "The media has accepted that children will live in a neo-evolutionary closed community where the messages are there for just about any other purpose than critical thinking."
Survival to Success: Transforming Immigrant Outcomes
Government of Canada,
A panel "led by experts in the areas of newcomer integration, diversity and certification" is conducting interviews in a bid to determine how best to help new Canadians integrate into the economy. There is an online consultation available here. The panel reports that "there is insufficient emphasis on follow-up for alternative careers and enhanced soft-skills training," recommend a "pan-Canadian standard" to assess the skills of prospective immigrants, collaboration "to maximize the effectiveness of the tools and services that help immigrants gain meaningful employment," and a focus on "on how to increase retention outside large metropolitan areas."
Maryland 'Free Range' Kids Taken Into Custody Again
I have to wonder what's missing to children who are raised in constant custody until their mid-teens. This story concerns a 10-year-old boy and 6-year-old girl who were picked up by police when seen playing by themselves in a park; their parents have been charged. At the age of 10 I was routinely outside on my own and ranged far and wide in my neighbourhood. Yes, it's a different time now - it's a lot safer, and crime is way down. Much of my present character is built from that freedom I had at an early age, and I think I would not be the same person without having had it.
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